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Real skilled immigration move coming ?

Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi all,

I didn't care till then about all the numerous rumors about possible H1B hike (or move in any way) because they were always the same old story and nothing ever came out, but this time there really may be something cooking.

In another topic of this forum (US Job Market Hot Spots) I reported an interview stating that California companies really had a hard time to hire talents, thus needing skilled Aliens' help through H1B California leading pack in tech sector grows, so being particularly harmed by present H1B crisis. The 2 companies interviewed were Microsoft and Cataphora. It looks like this interview spread really far and created big momentum since there is a strong rumor than the CEO of later company, Elizabeth Charnock (Management Team) has just been invited to the White House to testify, where she will meet President Bush in person.

The info comes from one of my French mates working there (there are 2 significant groups of French and Germans in this company). This info is not confirmed yet, and there is no mention of the subject of testimony (? H1B or evidence analytics, the business of this company ? but former option is by far more sensible than the latter), so it is still a rumor by now. But after some checking it doesn't look like a joke at all, and as testimony is expected to happen in late may we will find out quickly whether it is true or not. Of course I stay tuned for this subject interests me greatly personally (as potential H1B candidate, of course), so I will report any significant update, with references if possible.

I personally believe (I insist, simply MY OWN opinion from there) this is completely logical. Of course illegal immigration is a boiling hot topic, but legal one is much less troublesome, so a move on skilled legal immigration is a completely sensitive way to escape present immigration deadlock which will cost dearly to all lawmakers if they keep their do-nothing attitude too long while US public opinion demands a move on this matter. It is again logical (considering interview quoted above) that between Microsoft and Cataphora the latter was chosen, since the former is already heavily engaged since long in lobbying on this matter through Bill Gate's testimonies at Congress, so varying the sources is logical to emphasize the need. What is more Cataphora is a real startup, not a bodyshopper by anyway, so really needs Aliens H1B because they say local talent is not there, period, so it must be the logical reason of their presence at White House to testify. So in all, I believe something is REALLY cooking this time (again IMHO).

I will report any news update on this matter with all possible references, hoping my French mate can provide me the info, but if true this will be a public matter anyway so there is no reason anything having to remain private.

Best regards.


Eric LEMAITRE
CNAM IT Engineer, MS/CS (RHCE, RHCX, SCJA, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, Net+)
Free Online Tutorials: http://www.free-tutorials-online.net/
Jay Dilla
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
That's all fine and dandy....but the majority of american PEOPLE (not capitalist corporations) don't want aliens (illegal or legal) coming to the US to take any job. If tech firms in CA need people import them from the east coast as opposed to India, France, Eastern Europe,etc.
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi Jay,

That's all fine and dandy....but the majority of american PEOPLE (not capitalist corporations) don't want aliens (illegal or legal) coming to the US to take any job. If tech firms in CA need people import them from the east coast as opposed to India, France, Eastern Europe,etc.

The point is indeed that these tech firms in California simply CAN NOT import (US) people from the east coast because skills they need ARE NOT available in US now, period, which leaves them as sole options either to restrain their business or recruit abroad, which many are doing now.

In this case at least the issue really is lack of available local skills (kind of semantics anayzing for this company involved, probably by neuronal networks, an extremely specialized IT stuff), forcing either to outsource or recruiting abroad, and this is no money issue either since wages are high. I have little details since my contact there is French and French in general hate stating their salary, but he stated he was "very well paid" according to US standards.

Best regards.
stephen gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 30, 2007
Posts: 69
I agree... If the US wants more engineers, give out scholarships for engineering, computer science and so on to US citizens. Spending Billions of dollars a year to fight and rebuild Iraq, like the war or not, is a waste of money. Especially when college keeps going up and in the US, there is a real problem happening where there might not be a "middle class" anymore.

No, you don't give out scholarships to just anybody that wants it, but plenty of people who like computers or anything else for that matter don't always go to college, can't afford it, don't see real hope in college, or for whatever reason, never go or major in something else.

Maybe the local colleges don't offer a good computer science or engineering program. Maybe they live in an area that isn't know for having good colleges.

Where I grew up there was one local college and it was a small school more known for parties than a good education. I did live about an hour from a major city, which had a few good colleges. However it also meant I'd have to go to a college in another state and it also meant being charges as a "out of state" student. Meaning instead of 10K per year I pay 20K+ per year. that adds up quick.

It might be different now, but there are many areas that aren't known for good colleges. It probably is different now because of the internet and how computers have become mainstream. But when i was growing up, computer science wasn't a big major, nor one every college had or guidance counselors knew much about.
And when the avg student takes out over 20K in student loans just to go to college, it isn't always worth it, not for a lot of people who will be paying off student loans for the next 30 years.

I know i've made good money in IT, but was it worth taking out 80K in student loans to go to college? I'm not so sure about that.. There was a time when I was struggling and took any job I could so it sure wasn't worth it then.

So this notion that there are enough engineers or computer science interest in the US, is a nice theory. But the fact is, college costs a lot of money and majoring in something like computer science or engineering isn't always a 4 year thing.

I think college for the most part, is the biggest rip off in the US... My advice to any young kid who is thinking about going to college is either go to a cheap community college or figure out what you want to major in and think long and hard if it's worth it.. There are plenty of psychology majors or liberal arts majors with 100K student loans that work at a local mall.

But that's besides the point. If they want more engineers, give out more scholarships to US Citizens. There's nothing wrong with bringing in H1B visas or outside talent, but if that's your first choice every time, that is a problem.

Remember the auto manufacturing world outsourced or off shored their technology. Soon somebody else decided, "they could do that." And then suddenly the US auto companies are going bankrupt, have no room for workers and aren't even the number one car anymore.

If you keep giving to everybody else but your own citizens, especially to somebody who has one interest. Make and save money here and move back to their own country, eventually they'll build their own companies to be larger than your own and suddenly you won't need any H1B Visas or anything anymore.. Cause the US Citizens will be asking for China visas and Indian Visas and Brazilian Visas because that's where all the jobs went.
Jay Dilla
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
Excellent post Stephen Gates, I agree 110%. That's why I hate when US companies run to other countries to "fill needs". It's bogus, first do you expect me to believe there are ZERO resources here in the US? And if the resources here in the US are underqualified, then you need to concentrate on developing college graduates here in the states. Maybe if you didn't outsource all of the entry level development/support work to India,Phillipines,etc those kids would develop the skills you need.
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi Jay,

Excellent post Stephen Gates, I agree 110%.

I agree too, excellent post but needs some comments. I will use your own comments to answer both posts in a single strike.

That's why I hate when US companies run to other countries to "fill needs". It's bogus, first do you expect me to believe there are ZERO resources here in the US?

The point is not that there are ZERO resources here in the US, but there are ZERO resources AVAILABLE here in the US, while US companies need them RIGHT NOW. Either local skills are not in US or they are but already employed elsewhere with comparable salary, so are not interested to move elsewhere for the same thing.

You seem to forget that US companies have concurrents, both local and foreign, and they need skilled people to run their business. When they are in need of skilled people they WILL try to find them locally first because it is simpler and cheaper, but if they don't find them locally they will have no choice but paying more to find these skilled people abroad, or they will lose business shares to concurrency which hasn't the same issues.

And if the resources here in the US are underqualified, then you need to concentrate on developing college graduates here in the states.

Yes, I completely agree, but how many years are US companies ready to wait untill skilled freshers become available, while concurrency is not losing time ?

Maybe if you didn't outsource all of the entry level development/support work to India,Phillipines,etc those kids would develop the skills you need.

This point is the most interesting, it is a real societal issue.
In present global economy those kids KNOW that some jobs are offshorable, especially software development, while some other jobs are not offshorable at all like lawyers, surgeons, plumbers,etc... This is why many of those kids will avoid IT degrees anyway by fear of outsourcing and possible low wages and will choose other not offshorable careers instead, while those who love IT will keep on, but this WILL surely create a shortage of available skilled IT freshers anyway in US.

I am completely convinced that the most important career choice option for students before considering a future job will be : offshorable job or not ?

Best regards.
stephen gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 30, 2007
Posts: 69
I agree with the above poster on current needs.

If a company needs a person today, they can't wait 2-5 years for somebody to get up to speed. And many of the IT workers who come from India are light years ahead when it comes to science and engineering compared to those in the US. The problem now is some of those same people are beginning to get a taste of the "US" lifestyle and are demanding more money, more perks, less travel. Soon there will probably be a shortage of good engineers in India cause the ones who are good, will be working for higher wages.. This leads to philipines, china, russia, africa, brazil, wherever companies think there is some talent.

I think the major problem people have in the US is that everybody believes in the whole "do what you love" and money will come theory.

Well that's a nice theory but how many people loved one thing at 18, love something different at 35. How many people loved doing something they just weren't that good at. Maybe you love playing sports, but you'll never make a living at it. Maybe you love writing, but making a real career out of it is just not realistic. What you like at 35 probably isn't the same as when you were 18.

So people walk around half their lives looking for something they "love" and many times there are plenty of 40+ year olds who still don't know what they truely love. But you still have to eat, put a roof over your head and maybe support a family and aging parents.

On top of that, maybe you do love technology, but it's not a new thing anymore. People know somebody who has worked in technology. They hear things. They see things.

So where do the majority of people in IT work? They work for businesses, healthcare, consulting firms, government agencies, banks, manufacturers. Most people don't work for a large search engine or a huge software giant in Redmond. They are also stuck at a cubicle all day. They sit through pointless meetings. They are given unrealistic specs. They are treated as the bottom of the totem pole. Yeah, loving something is one thing, but there are few people who like sitting in a cubicle all day. So the notion do what you love is a nice theory, but it's just not a realistic theory. But it is what it is and the US has become a place where people need to be inspired or find their true passion and love in life. Most people don't think about engineering or sciences and inspiration. It's restrictive.

On the other hand, many people from India believe in finding ways to make money, finding a skill that'll get them out from where they are and into a better life. Engineering and the sciences are that way. Study hard, get a degree, get a job with a MNC, work in europe or the US, make money, save money, move back home and live comfortably. Or stay in europe or the US.

It's a different mindset. The US pushes the "do what you love" theory while the rest of the world pushes "make us proud and earn a living" theory.

Engineering and sciences are hard. It takes a lot of work to study, learn, and continue to do that. While others might be out partying, you probably are studying.

On the other hand, while not easy, majoring in english or the liberal arts or psychology is a way to skim through 4 years, get that degree, and then find yourself.

The problem in the US is with the whole notion and theory of "finding what you love and you'll be compensated." Well for most people, they never really find what they love.

Like I said, loving technology is great, loving sitting in a cubicle or writing insurance business logic all day long isn't exactly what "love" is all about for most people.

On top of that, college is expensive. So therefore, shortages will happen. The easy way out is not engineering and computer science.

And listenening to a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs about education is nice, except for the fact they quit college. They've probably never sat in a cubicle in their lives. Tell it like it is. If you work in IT, you will probably be sitting in a cubicle. You will probably write code, design systems that you aren't always passionate about. It is what it is..

You can't sugar coat things anymore. When you do, people look at you like your full of it. Too much info available. Telling somebody IT, science and engineering is the be all end all will usually result in somebody thinking, yeah right you are full of it and majoring in something else.
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi stephen,

The problem now is some of those same people are beginning to get a taste of the "US" lifestyle and are demanding more money, more perks, less travel. Soon there will probably be a shortage of good engineers in India cause the ones who are good, will be working for higher wages. This leads to philipines, china, russia, africa, brazil, wherever companies think there is some talent.

Is this some real issue after all? This is indeed the GOOD hopeful objective of globalization, make other countries richer so they may become your customers and buy you more goods which will make you richer too, and so on. In practice most poor countries get richer while most rich countries loose some wealth, which is quite acceptable as long as differences remain sustainable. If wealth grows in India then afterwards spreads to philipines, china, russia, africa, and brazil when their turn has come, while US although less rich remains the richest, why would it be an issue?

I think the major problem people have in the US is that everybody believes in the whole "do what you love" and money will come theory.

I am no US citizen, I could come to your point but I wouldn�t say that this way.
IMHO in US career theory is "find the most pleasant jobs where you earn the most" exactly like everywhere else in the world. So people everywhere try to find the best balance of the nicest job with biggest wages possible, some preferring a pleasant job to high wages, some highest wages even if job is unpleasant, with infinite degrees between these 2 goals.

But in US perhaps there is the "land of opportunities" syndrome stating you will become rich if you are ready to work hard, which is quite irrelevant in practice since people get rich with original ideas without working much while others may remain poor their whole live despite working very hard all along. This is perhaps why US people may believe that as US being a rich country so they will themselves get and remain rich by principle, which is far from truth.

The real issue in fact is about education. In general in a country the more people are educated the richest country is, for people will be much better able to detect and adapt to new opportunities which appear everywhere anytime in continuous. This is why the excessive cost of college is a real issue in US, but this is simply a matter of cost of live. Measures should be taken so that money is not an obstacle for people deserving a college degree through their merits, and the whole country would go better.

Best regards.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15964
    
  19

With all due respect to our international community, I don't know anyone who really claims that foreign tech workers have average skillsets vastly exceeding those of domestic workers. Except maybe for Bill Gates, when he goes to Congress to lobby for more H1-B's.

That, in fact, is the whole problem. Employers routinely synthesize artificial constraints for employee requirements rejecting domestic talent out of hand since statistically, the likelihood of getting a match is just about zero.

Yet somehow, they manage to hire H1-B's to fill these positions. All well and good, except that everyone I know who know these "magic" people say that they're frequently barely competent to do the job. You can take that as meaning that for a low enough salary suddenly the draconian hiring constraints just melt away, or if you'd rather, it could simply be a variant of the old "employees are incompetent, consultants are all-knowing" Dilbertism, but regardless, it's not good for morale.

India has about 1 billion people, it's true. What the people with the dollar signs in their eyes tend to forget is that a LOT of those people are subsistence farmers. The U.S. has about 300 million, most of which are allegedly educated to at least basic high-school level (even if not very well). Percentage-wise, the U.S. has a lot more potential trainees, since it's much faster to get people from high-school to grad-school level - even talking U.S. schools - than it is from basic literacy to grad-school.

I want the developing world to prosper. However, charity begins at home. Besides, until India, China, etc. have a uniformly high technological infrastructure, one of the best things we could do is keep U.S. citizens employed. Since we're mostly sending our dollars to them anyway, courtesy of Wal-Mart, and since the income of a person in Cincinnati can send a lot more raw dollars into the hands of China and India than the income of a person from Chennai, it actually works out better in the short term.

And after all, what U.S. interest looks beyond the next fiscal quarter or the next election, anyway?


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi Tim,

With all due respect to our international community, I don't know anyone who really claims that foreign tech workers have average skillsets vastly exceeding those of domestic workers. Except maybe for Bill Gates, when he goes to Congress to lobby for more H1-B's.

That, in fact, is the whole problem. Employers routinely synthesize artificial constraints for employee requirements rejecting domestic talent out of hand since statistically, the likelihood of getting a match is just about zero.

Yet somehow, they manage to hire H1-B's to fill these positions. All well and good, except that everyone I know who know these "magic" people say that they're frequently barely competent to do the job.


But this statement, despite certainly true for it has been related, is still not the point.

H1B was designed to bring in Aliens to fill positions IN ABSENCE OF adequate skilled local workforce, so it is NOT harmful to local US workforce when it is RESPECTED. We probably all have no doubt there are gigantic loopholes in the H1B which allow (seemingly very easily, save for the H1B cap at least) to let in in practice almost any cheap Alien because legislation was never seriously enforced in this field. Despite bodyshoppers must exist in significative numbers in US (our Indian Javaranchers could certainly testimony), if I remember well within the last 5 years 1 (yes, ONE) single company was convinced of bodyshipping (in NJ I believe), and anyway simply had to pay a fine certainly inferior to what it had gained thanks to its bad practices. So in clear nothing is ever done against H1B loopholes. Why is an interesting point BUT not THIS point.

AFAIK, this startup company had to look abroad for skilled Aliens (MS minimum) and provide them good wages according to US standards (plus than market rate) after having attempted in vain to recruit locally against its very specific IT skills (e-discovery concept). And it is far from being alone in this case. So all the "they can wait years untill freshers are available" or "they employ unskilled Aliens for cheap" should be avoided here at least. Please focus on the post's subject.

Best regards.
Jay Dilla
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
Eric have you considered the fact that the problem is not the amount of H-1B visas allowed....but the allocation of said visas. I read some where that last yr 60K visas were given and 48K of them went to Indians. Thats why alot of people believe the visas are just a way to get cheap resources into the states, NOT a way to search for the best resources in the world. Not saying the Indians are underqualified or whatever I just think it's interesting that a disportionate amount of applicants are accepted from a "cheap" pool, kind of shows you that is not REALLY about getting the best available. Why aren't the visas evenly distributed? Why aren't companies applying for engineers from britian or south korea or japan or somewhere where the expected salary and the opportunity cost of the person moving would be as high or even higher then if the company recruited in the US?
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi Jay,

Eric have you considered the fact that the problem is not the amount of H-1B visas allowed....but the allocation of said visas. I read some where that last yr 60K visas were given and 48K of them went to Indians. Thats why alot of people believe the visas are just a way to get cheap resources into the states, NOT a way to search for the best resources in the world. Not saying the Indians are underqualified or whatever I just think it's interesting that a disportionate amount of applicants are accepted from a "cheap" pool, kind of shows you that is not REALLY about getting the best available. Why aren't the visas evenly distributed? Why aren't companies applying for engineers from britian or south korea or japan or somewhere where the expected salary and the opportunity cost of the person moving would be as high or even higher then if the company recruited in the US?

I completely agree, statistics say that in IT fields 70% of H1B petitions are asked by big Indian consulting companies (Tata, Infosys, ...), Indians are clearly over-represented (without any offense to Indians) in H1B visa matters. AFAIK the Indians now count in all for about 80% of all IT visas, it is completely unbalanced (still no offense to Indians, I simply mean that 80% is much more than 20%).

One additional vicious thing is that many Indians hope to use the H1B as a start for a GC later, but there is a cap of GC set to 7% max for any nation so as to preserve diversity, and as Indians are already over-represented in GC too 80% of Indian H1Bs won't ever have a GC because of this other cap. This transforms most of present Indian H1Bs into a cast of "permanent temporary workers" in practice. Another loophole to be fixed.

Jay, you must be aware that I whish to see the system fixed too, like you, so that H1B gets back to what it was designed : let in skilled Alien staff in case of local shortage, and later keep the most interesting ones through labor GCs. The H1B must become again a sensible path to citizenship for skilled labor immigration with "temporary" H1B first then "permanent" GC if a fit then citizenship if still a fit.

This is why too I am persuaded a real move is coming, since present labor immigration system is so plagued with obvious loopholes that an easy move is to fix the most visible, there is a clear consensus about this point with both public opinion and lawmakers. Present H1B crisis clearly shows present labor immigration system is completely broken.

Best regards.
Don Stadler
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
I am convinced that low pay is only one of two major issues in why H1B is so broken. The other issue is power relationships. When I was starting out I used to answer some of the boilerplate ads in Computerworld for low-level programming jobs. These ads were run as a statutory requirement and always had a very low salary, which I was willing to accept at that time because I needed a job where I could gain experience.

I was rejected (or ignored) because I was not what they wanted. I was a US citizen free to leave whenever I wanted, and I would have done when I had enough experience to do better. They knew that. The employers in these cases want captive workers. The captive part is as important as the cheap. Indian H1B's are perfect because of the cap on green cards. 80% of H1B's are Indian but only 7% of the GC pool can be Indian. Voila instant (and permanent) captives.

It's this problem which has to be fixed, as well as the virtual monopoly on HIBs that large Indian outsourcing companies have acquired. That part is what squeezes independents like you out of H1B.

I think some kind of limit on how many H1B applications can be submitted by any one entity plus a limit on the rate that H1B applications can be submitted might help.

Just expanding the H1B quota would merely enrich enormous Indian outsourcing companies at the expense of US citizens - and we already see MORE than enough of that already!
[ May 03, 2007: Message edited by: Don Stadler ]
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi Don,

I am convinced that low pay is only one of two major issues in why H1B is so broken. ... The captive part is as important as the cheap. Indian H1B's are perfect because of the cap on green cards. 80% of H1B's are Indian but only 7% of the GC pool can be Indian. Voila instant (and permanent) captives.

I completely agree.

In fact as 70% of all IT H1B petitions come from big Indian "bodyshopping" consulting companies (Tata, Infosys, ...) according to USCIS, a recent senate bill is being discussed to eliminate this part. Senate bill is S-1035 (Durbin-Grassley) to Amend H1B and L1 visa program.

Proposition is simply to outlaw outplacement of H1B employees, thus making use of an H1B alien as a consultant illegal. Obvious goal is to reserve Aliens H1B use to direct US employers, typically US startups. Reference : Immigration Voice Position on S 1035

Main issue is H1B Aliens fired from an US startup couldn't stay in US if only jobs available remaining would be consulting positions.

Best regards.
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Originally posted by Eric Lemaitre:
Proposition is simply to outlaw outplacement of H1B employees, thus making use of an H1B alien as a consultant illegal.


That's a blunt instrument. Let's say I am a software engineer on a product, and a MAJOR client has a significant problem. In the real world, my company might send me over for 2-3 days to troubleshoot and diagnose directly, to expedite solving the problem. Your "solution" makes this illegal.

If there's such a problem with Indian body shoppers, why not implement a quota like the GC quota, where only 7% of all H-1B holders each year can come from the same country?

America has been strong over the years because it focused on merit, and sinec 1791 has been the world's oldest and richest free-trade zone. Restricting things based on citizenship is a good way to be second-rate, because nepotism, no matter how extended, is still a bad way to run a business or a country. It's amusing to see people demand that American companies discriminate against non-citizens, yet they would be rushing to the EEOC the instant that company discriminated against THEM because they lived in a different state. They *want* discrimination, they just want to be the beneficiary of said discrimination.

If there's an employer who simply wants to hire the cheapest workers, I'm not going to go and demand that they hire me. They can hoist themselves by their own low-cost petard for all I care.

Cheers!

Luke
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi all,

According to my local French mates, I got a new confirmation that CEO of Cataphora company (Elizabeth Charnock) I was speaking about will be invited on 13th june at White House. But it may not be obvious at all that the matter of meeting will be about H1B crisis, in fact. I will let you know (if I am authorized to) when I know more.

Best regards.
 
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